In August 2014, an enormous landslide occurred in the Sindhupalchok district, killing over 150 villagers as they slept. The landslide formed a dam that blocked the river and cause entire villages to be submerged in a 47m deep lake displacing dozens of families. It also blocked the only road to China and prevented the flow of people and goods for many months.
A crisis centre was set up in the area of the landslide where we could drop off supplies for the people affected. It was run jointly by the police, army and villagers affected. Each week affected people were able to come and get food and supplies. They were being housed in a tent city close to the crisis centre, which was set up in a disused cement factory.
This 14 year old boy stayed at a friend’s house one night. When he woke up his whole family had been taken by the landslide – none of them were ever found. It was so absolutely devastating.
The landslide picked up whole houses and deposited them randomly along it’s path. These were mostly carried away by the tsunami that followed the huge landslide. Essentially the whole mountainside collapsed into the major river that flows along the road that connects Tibet and Nepal. It took entire villages with it, but then formed a dam in the river. This then flooded whole valleys and submerged more villages – leaving hundreds dead and even more homeless.
In September, soon after the landslide, we bought 100kg of dahl and 500kg of rice from Kathmandu and more from a stores close to the disaster zone and delivered it to the crisis centre. We put out a call to our friends at Padua Kindergarten in Mornington, Victoria and the parents generously donated 150kg of warm kids clothes which we carried over with us from Australia – 50kg in September and 100kg in November.
Buy a large, warm, soft blanket – US$15 each
The monsoon season in 2014 was late in coming but ferocious when it did arrive. There were many landslides, but one in particular was devastating. The side of the mountain gave way in the night and crashed into the valley and river below. This was east of Kathmandu and completely blocked the only road to Tibet. In the immediate disaster over 156 people lost their lives. The amount of debris that crashed into the river caused a water surge that completely destroyed the homes of over 600 people and dammed the river, completely submerging many more homes upstream.
In September 2014, two Board members from Australia went to Nepal and took 50kgs of donated warm clothes – mostly for children – money to buy 500kg of rice and 100kgs of dahl. We organised a van and picked up the food on the way and along with four members of the Team Nepal Board, set off for the crisis centre. The landslide was enormous – nothing could have prepared us for the size of the disaster. The people are living in a tent city and the police and army have organised a central area for supplies and aid. We dropped off our van full of supplies and met some of those affected, including a woman whose son and daughter-in-law were seriously injured by the water surge and a 14 year old boy who stayed at his friend’s house on that night and woke up to find his entire family gone in the landslide. It was devastating to hear his story.
We plan to have an ongoing relationship with the people in this area and help them to rebuild their lives and community. The next problem is going to be the cold. The winter in the Himalaya is bitterly cold and these people are still living in tents near where their houses were. We started a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to buy blankets for them. We’ve bought blankets in the past for the orphanage and they are very large, soft and warm and cost US$15.